I'll admit that I've heard the name Hetty Green bandied about, and had some idea it had to do with saving one's pennies. But I had no idea that Hetty Green, in the early 1900s, was America's first female tycoon. Once again, as with my first Celebrating Women's History Month post on the sculptor Harriet Hosmer, who is newly immortalized by biographer Kate Culkin, we're presented with a woman who enjoyed an amazing amount of success -- this time in the business world -- at a time when women had very few rights to their finances - or even to vote!
When J. P. Morgan called a meeting of New York's financial leaders after the stock market crash of 1907, Hetty Green was the only woman in the room. The Guinness Book of World Records memorialized her as the World's Greatest Miser, and, indeed, this unlikely robber baron -- who parlayed a comfortable inheritance into a fortune that was worth about 1.6 billion in today's dollars -- was frugal to a fault. But in an age when women weren't even allowed to vote, never mind concern themselves with interest rates, she lived by her own rules. In Hetty, Charles Slack reexamines her life and legacy, giving us, at long last, a splendidly "nuanced portrait" (Newsweek) of one of the greatest -- and most eccentric -- financiers in American history.
Browse inside Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon by Charles Slack to find out more about this fascinating woman.